LIT 501 – Week 2 – Rhetorical Precis

Murray, Donald M. “Teach Writing as a Process Not Product.” Cross-Talk in Comp Theory: A Reader. Ed. Victor Villanueva. Second ed. United States: National Council of Teachers of English, 2003. 3-6.

In the academic journal article “Teach Writing as a Process Not a Product,” Donald M. Murray (1972) argues that English teachers should teach writing as a process instead of a product as is traditionally done. Murray uses his years of experience as a teacher as empirical evidence and examples for the benefits of this change in paradigm. Murray would like for English teachers to change how they approach teaching writing in order to inspire students to appreciate the act of writing instead of the goal of having finished something. Murray writes to English Teachers, addressing them specifically throughout the article. I found the argument convincing, as it puts emphasis on the appreciation of learning how to do something as opposed to creating a polished finished product. Murray says “once you can look at your composition program with the realization that your are teaching a process, you may be able to design a curriculum which works” (3). The desire of creating the former can be limiting and disheartening, because finished product could be judged or graded badly. Focusing on the process and enjoyment of creation means that even a poor mark is more opportunity to learn. Teaching the process as opposed to a product allows teachers to emphasize development.

Emig, Janet. “Writing as a Mode of Learning.” Cross-Talk in Comp Theory: A Reader. Ed. Victor Villanueva. Second ed. United States: National Council of Teachers of English, 2003. 7-15.

In the academic journal article “Writing as a Mode of Learning,” Janet Emig (1977) argues that writing is a unique mode of learning that possesses a “cluster of attributes that correspond uniquely to certain powerful learning strategies” (7). Enig uses her own experience and a research to support her thesis. Her goal in writing this paper is to explain the various ways that writing can be used in order to develop a person’s brain, thought processes, and creativity in those who pursue writing development. Emig’s audience is teachers, who can learn to think of writing as a tool for learning, or anybody else who might consider the different ways writing might connect various connections for advancement of thought. I thought her argument enlightening in the way she explains and details the ways that writing can enhance interdisciplinary learning.

Perl, Sondra. “The Composing Processes of Unskilled College Writers.” Cross-Talk in Comp Theory: A Reader. Ed. Victor Villanueva. Second ed. United States: National Council of Teachers of English, 2003. 17-54.

In the academic journal article “The Composing Processes of Unskilled College Writers,” answers the three questions at the root of their research. Perl supports their research through research samples and interviews taken from student volunteers. Perl’s research explores these “unskilled college writers” in order to establish the strengths, weaknesses, and habits within their own writing process. The audience for this would be college professors and, perhaps, administrators, since the data is very dense and difficult to understand, but would allow targeted development once a student’s strengths and weaknesses are understood. This stats-based research is difficult for me to understand, but framing around the development of English made it a bit easier for me to wrap my head around. Explaining the learning process, the discrepancies, and habits through this type of research was different, and enlightening to read. I am not a statistician, so cannot comment to the quality or validity of the research, but I think that the two criteria “writing samples that qualified them as unskilled writers and willingness to participate” might eschew the research a different way. In my experience, those who are willing to participate in a study, or in a class, even if they are “unskilled” have the room for the largest amount of growth.

 

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